By Eric Schmidt

For most of the trip down The Road to MetLife Stadium, the Seattle Seahawks had an empty seat on their team bus. WR Percy Harvin. Harvin was acquired prior to the start of the 2013 season from the Minnesota Vikings. The dynamic receiver was expected to be the much needed piece of the puzzle on offense for the Seahawks. However, injuries that have plagued most of his career, kept him off the field for the vast majority of the 2013 regular season.

Harvin appeared in just 19 snaps in the 2013 regular season. He finished the season with just one reception for 17 yards and adding one kickoff return for 58 yards.

The biggest question facing Harvin in MetLife Stadium on Sunday will be whether he’s in game shape. He’s practiced all week and reports suggest he’s 100% and ready to go. Given the fact he’s appeared on the field so little this season, his return could be the wildcard on offense the Seahawks need in order to win.

The mere fact that he’ll be on the field will force the Broncos to have to account for him. He is a legitimate threat to take the ball the distance any time it touches his hands. His presence now creates some better matchup potential for receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate as well. Tate has been held in check in Seattle’s last two playoff games, but will need to step up on Sunday and accept a larger role.

Harvin can be a game changer anytime he touches the ball, but in the kicking game is where I believe he gives the Seahawks an advantage. His exceptional speed gives him a unique ability when returning kicks. He has five career touchdowns on kickoff returns with a career average of 28.1 yards per return.

Pete Carroll is an unconventional coach so I look for Harvin to be involved early and often in the game plan, and won’t be surprised to see a trick play run with Harvin being the center of the action. Against the Saints he was involved in the passing game, ran a sweep and made a sensational fingertip touchdown grab.

Pete Carroll has all his weapons back at his disposal and I fully expect him to use them all, with Harvin playing a bigger role than many might think.

 

 

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